Today I want to share with you these words that I wrote a couple of months ago with a really heavy heart. I wasn’t sure I was going to post it… it’s a little longer than my normal post, a story within a story, but I think the end is worth it. Already Jesus is healing my soul, and I feel better than I did when I wrote this. But I’m still asking for the song…
One of my dreams died today. Not with a big bang, but with the small “Pfhut” of a candle being blown out by a soft breath. My spirit is cluttered with disappointment and heartache.
But before I get into that, let me tell you a cute little story. (I always try to be positive.)
I like to entertain Oliver while I do boring things, like wipe the kitchen counters or run errands with him, by singing. Now that he’s reached the wise old age of 6, he’s becoming less than enthused about this. Recently I decided to impress him by singing one of his favorite songs with a lot of gusto, really belting it out and hamming it up as he ate his lunch and I folded laundry on our kitchen table.
He looked up at me and said, “That was great! Now sing it in Chinese.”
Like I absolutely could and I absolutely would, just because he asked. I explained to him that people in China speak a language called Mandarin and that I have no idea how to sing anything in that language. Ollie was seriously surprised at my lack of linguistic ability. “Really?” he asked. “Are you sure?”
I was sure, and I was also sure that there was a blog post in their somewhere, about childlike faith and how we should never, ever underestimate our Heavenly Father. I filed it away in the back of my mind for “someday.”
Which brings us to today, when my most dearly held dream for my speaking ministry— the thing I daydream about when I’m blow-drying my hair and brushing my teeth—was quietly extinguished. Over the course of a quiet morning hour, it flickered with some news, sputtered with my realization of what the news probably meant, and died in the face of reality.
Then, like the tendril of smoke that curls up from a bent and blackened wick, an unexpected prayer rose from my heart:
Oh, Lord… Lord. Lord, sing it in Chinese.
Do the impossible.
Perhaps you’ve had a dream die. I was going to list out some examples here, things to do with family, careers, and talents… but I know you don’t need them. We’ve all had moments when we realize that life isn’t going to work out as we’d hoped.
As Christians, we believe that absolutely, without a doubt, God can do the impossible and revive those dreams. He can move mountains, work miracles, and bring the dead back to life. He can sing it in Chinese. And our mourning hearts can ask for the wondrous.
When we do, sometimes we hear the song and a flame rises out of the ashes.
Sometimes He grants us a new vision, enlightens us with a new dream that’s more in line with His perfect plan for us.
And sometimes we must surrender our dream and choose contentment in the path the good Lord has chosen for us. Perhaps this is the most common response; it’s surely the hardest to undertake.
But always, always, we can rest in knowing that the Lord will work good through any circumstance and bring about His will for us.
How have you handled losing a dream?
Generally, this is how I do it:
I take the time to mourn the loss. I let my spirit get as cluttered as the house of a hoarder, bringing up all the negative emotions in my heart and feeling them one by one. I’m disappointed. I’m sad. I’m disbelieving. I’m mad. I’m anxious about what to do next. I hang out there for a while, as long as it takes to let all of that clutter gather.
When I’m ready, I start sorting through it. Which thoughts can take on a positive spin when held up to the light of God? Which feelings are guiding me about what to do next? And which thoughts are just useless, hurtful lies of my enemy who wants me to despair and blame God? I work through the pile, separating the truth from the lies.
I ask Jesus to take the bad things, sometimes again and again. I hold onto the good things and prayerfully decide how to handle the choices ahead. I find my hope in God. I know He will work it out for the best, no matter what.
And I know that someday, He may fulfill that dream in a way I didn’t anticipate. He may, even still, sing it in Chinese.
This is pretty much my description of how to clear out the spiritual clutter of heartache. How do you handle heartache like this? Would you recommend your methods, or do they need some tweaking? I’d love to hear from you.
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